Teon Kennedy will get his first world title shot on June 9, despite being winless in his last two fights. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
Guillermo Rigondeaux will return to the ring on June 9, part of the Manny Pacquiao vs Timothy Bradley pay-per-view from Las Vegas, facing Teon Kennedy, according to ESPN.com.
It's the second undercard fight that is set in principle for the show, with Mike Jones vs Randall Bailey for the vacant IBF welterweight title also good to go and just awaiting the final details.
Rigondeaux (9-0, 7 KO) won the WBA super bantamweight title with an easy and boring win over Rico Ramos on January 20. I think the general consensus will be that Kennedy (17-1-2, 7 KO) is an easy first defense for the Cuban, but there's really only so much can be done with Rigondeaux.
He can't draw at all, as evidenced by the 375 tickets sold in Las Vegas for his fight with Ramos. So until you convince a real name like Nonito Donaire to fight him, there's no upside to paying for a truly quality opponent on a Rigondeaux-headlined show. He's going to be part of undercards until he gets a Donaire type of fight.
Kennedy, 25, is in a way being cashed out here, at least on paper and assuming he doesn't pull a pretty unlikely upset. The Philadelphia native is 0-1-1 in his last two fights, with a clear loss to Alejandro Lopez followed by a dull draw with Chris Martin in January. He's a spirited fighter, really, but he had trouble with the countering and technical approach of Martin, who is no Rigondeaux.
So far, the Pacquiao-Bradley undercard isn't shaping up to be anything special. When you break it down here, you've got a titleholder with no fans and an often boring style facing a guy who is a fringe contender at best, plus a one-trick journeyman facing a welterweight prospect whose upside seems limited in multiple ways, both in the ring and as any kind of attraction. But we've certainly seen worse -- I suppose it's possible Top Rank sees Pacquiao-Bradley as a somewhat low-ceiling main event, and with undercards not really doing a whole lot to sell a show no matter who's on them, they might as well just put their fighters who have a hard time getting TV dates on HBO/SHO on this card, where someone will watch them and they get paid out of a real pot, instead of Rigondeaux being paid $50K on a $15K gate and some ShoBox money.